Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Rushdie or “Scruffy”?

After reporting that Salman Rushdie was awarded the Best of the Bookers this month for 1981’s Booker winner Midnights Children; I was amused to read that Ex-Special Branch detective Ron Evans writes less flatteringly about the award winning author in the UK Telegraph:
In his autobiography On Her Majesty's Service, Evans paints an unflattering picture of Rushdie as tight-fisted, rude and arrogant, and claims the team of protection officers nicknamed him Scruffy because of his unkempt appearance.

He said the protection team were expected to pay him rent for their sparse lodgings in a safe house, and were on one occasion confined to their rooms so Rushdie -- codenamed Joe -- could spent an intimate evening with girlfriend and later third wife Elizabeth West.

Evans was assigned to armed protection duties in 1989, when the controversial author, now 61, wrote the Satanic Verses, which was condemned for its allegedly blasphemous depiction of the Prophet Mohammed and banned in India, Pakistan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
The revelations make for amusing reading especially when they locked Rushdie in a cupboard and went to the pub. The Telegraph piece is here.

Meanwhile, Rushdie has been nominated for yet another Man Booker. (This time for The Enchantress of Florence.) You can see that longlist here. The shortlist will be announced at the beginning of September with the winner being awarded on October 14th.

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